Benjamin Richardson, b. abt 1750/d. 1809 was a Free Person of Color in Halifax County, the ancestor of many of the RICHARDSON families in the area. His widow, Mary Bass - Richardson, was apparently his 2nd wife since he had children born prior to the February 13, 1783 date of their marriage.  Mary also applied for a pension for the service of her previous husband, Elijah Bass and that file contains further details of both couples.

(transcribed by Deloris Williams from original pension file W4061)


This woman’s former husband Elijah Bass was killed at the battle of Eutaw Springs

State of North Carolina,
Halifax County

On this 11th day of October 1841 personally appeared before me John Alston one of the acting magistrates and a member of the Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions in and for said County (it being a Court of record) Mary Richardson a resident of said County aged ninety years who being first duly sworn according to law, doth on her oath make the following declaration in order to obtain the benefit of the provisions made by the Act of Congress passed July 4th 1836 and the act explanatory John White Jadan Harris & other officers. That he went out of Halifax & Warren Counties and served as a Militia Soldier in the Year 17 hundred and Eighty and a part of Eighty one. She further declares that her said husband Benjamin Richardson died on the 14th July 18 hundred & nine. That she was not married to him prior to his leaving the service but the marriage took place previous to the 1st day January 17 hundred & ninety four viz at the time above stated. She further says on her oath that she has no documentary evidence in support of her claim to a pension. Sworn to and Subscribed on the day and year above written before.

John Alston J.P.

Mary Richardson (her mark)


State of N. Carolina
Halifax County
I hereby certify that Mary Richardson who hath this day sworn to and subscribed to the foregoing declaration is unable by reason of bodily infirmity to attend Court to make her said declaration that she is credible person Given under my hand & seal this 11th day October 1841.

John Alston J.P.


North Carolina, Warren County
I Francis Riggan of the County of Warren & State aforesaid, Aged 78 years, do hereby Certified on oath, that I know Benjamin Richardson, who was a Militia soldier in the Revolution in the North Carolina service and that the said Richardson did serve as such for six months to my own Knowledge. He first on the 10th day of February 1781 substituted himself to serve three months, in the place of Ebenezer, Riggan, and Captain Jordan Harris' Company, & he did serve out the same. Afterwards, to wit, on or about the 10th day of August 1781, the said Benjamin Richardson was drafted for three months or more and Captain John White's Company, & served out the same - making six months service a Militia Soldier, to my own personal Knowledge. But I have every reason to believe that the said Richardson had served three months previous to the 10th day of February 1781 - but I do not know the fact.
I further Certify that Mary Richardson, is the widow of the Identical Benjamin Richardson above named.

Francis Riggan





Halifax County, N.Car
March 12th, 1853

We the only surviving children and heirs at law of Mary Richardson the deceased, who was formerly the widow of Elijah Bass deceased Soldier of the Revolution, request you to allow W. Thos. Lumpkin of Washington City D.C. the liberty to examine our deceased Mother’s declaration and all the testimony on file in your office, relative to her claim for a pension on account of the Revolutionary services of her first husband the aforesaid Elijah Bass, and when the pension certificate is issued for the amount of pension money due us, who are the only surviving children & heirs at ???? of the said Mary Richardson deceased. Please deliver it to the said W. Thos. Lumpkin for us.

Hon. James R. Heath
Commissioner of Pensions Very Respectfully,
Washington City D.C.
Witness Lewis Shearin(signed)                            Hardy Richardson (his mark)
Witness Richard Hamlet(signed)                         Lucy Evans (her mark)
Witness Edward King (signed)                            Absalom Richardson (his mark)
                                                                                    Jessee Richardson (his mark)


State of North Carolina,
Halifax County

Came before me James W. Faucett, a Justice of the Peace in and for the County of Halifax aforesaid, Willie Qualls and William ???? resident of the said County of Halifax, who being duly sworn according to law, deposes and says that the were well acquainted with Mary Richardson the wife of Benjamin Richardson deceased, reputed and believed to have been a soldier in the Revolutionary War – that the said Mary Richardson lived and died in the county aforesaid, in the year A.D.. 1844 – that the said Mary Richardson left three children who are now living, Jesse Richardson, and Lucy Evans, formerly Lucy Richardson, now residing in the County aforesaid, and Absalom Richardson, a resident of the adjoining County of Warren. Willie Qualls (his mark)

The foresaid declaration affidavit was sworn to and subscribed by Willie Qualls and ???? ???? deposed on this 13th day of April A.D. 1855 and I certify that I know the affidavit to be credible persons and that I have no interest whatsoever in this claimant my name and affix the seal of my office this the 14th day of May A.D. 1855.

Wm.W. Daniel, Clerk

I know William Qualls well both of having been raised in this county & having been acquainted I may say from our boyhood. He is a worthy man & his statements would rely upon as soon as any man of my acquaintance. Mr. Wood, the other affiant is the son of an old revolutionary soldier whom I well know whose name was Wm. Wood. I do not know that I would know his son if I were to see him having grown up while my time was spent mostly at Washington, but I hear that he is a man of good character & I know the neighbourhood in which both he & Mr. Qualls live in that in which the Richardson family lived & in which Hardy Richardson the son Mary Richardson died a short time since and at whose house his mother lived & died. Knowing these facts & having understood from Rhesa Richardson a client of mine in a matter of law respecting some property due which he claims that Mary Richardson died about the time stated by affiants at her son’s Hardy’s now dead himself, in a needy & dependent condition but for the assistance of her son, I can confidently assure the Department that Mary Richardson mention in the affidavit and who I understand was the widow of Benj. Richardson a revolutionary soldier died about the time stated by affiants that there can be no doubt whatsoever about her death. The Richardsons are a family of fine persons of color & generally are industrious & well behaved people.

JRJ Daniel (signed)
Halifax NC
May 24, 1855

(See also Pension File for Elijah Bass)

See also Will of Benjamin Richardson






We the subscribed do acknowledge to owe to ALEXANDER MARTIN esq. Governor of the State of North Carolina & to his successors in office the sum of five hundred pounds to be levied of our goods to be levied of our goods & chattels respectively But to be void on Condition that no lawful cause shall hereafter appear to obstruct a marriage intended between BENJAMIN RICHARDSON and MARY BASS – to perform which Marriage the said BENJAMIN RICHARDSON hath obtained a license bearing even date with these presents sealed with our seals & dated the 13 day of February A.D. 1783

Signed sealed & delivered                                  BENJAMIN RICHARDSON (“X” his mark) (seal)
in presence of                                                         PHILA PATTEFORD (seal)

North Carolina
Granville County

I JAMES M. WIGGINS Clerk of the Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions for the County and State aforesaid duly certify that the foregoing is a full text and perfect copy of the Marriage Bond of BENJAMIN RICHARDSON as appears of record in my office.
In testimony whereof, I have hereunto subscribed my name, and affixed the seal of my office at Oxford the 3rd day of December A.D. 1841.





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